EuropaBio comments on the public consultation on blue bioeconomy
These comments complement our reply to the public consultation on blue bioeconomy and the development of a strong and sustainable EU algae sector. The algae sector includes both microalgae and macroalgae; our comments concentrate on microalgae use.
Industrial Biotechnology (IB) actively uses enzymes and micro-organisms (including algae) to make bio-based products in sectors such as chemicals, food and feed, detergents, paper and pulp, textiles, and bioenergy. Algae products have tremendous potential to address global challenges in food and feed production and health as well as support a transition to a bio-based economy. Furthermore, production systems for algae often have low environmental impact reducing the use of potable water, arable land, and fossil-based energy.
To explore the full potential of algae products it is important to ensure an enabling governance framework to establish trust and confidence amongst industry, investors, brands, and consumers. Europe needs industry support measures to develop the algae industry and bring new algae species to the market under the Novel Food Regulation (for example by identifying and sharing best practices or identifying species that do not require Novel Food authorization procedure). An additional aspect to consider is how the development of innovative approaches to improve the characteristics of algae (such as for example gene technology and new genomic techniques) can be supported, for instance through ensuring a proportionate regulatory framework as well as generating public trust and support for such developments.
The relatively new application of algae in food and feed will also require consumer awareness and acceptance to help ensure success of algae adoption and initiatives such as the EU Blue Growth Strategy. It is important to promote the availability of sustainable algae-based products such as biomaterials, textiles, cosmetics, biopolymers, biofuels, and fertilizers or biostimulants. Communications efforts around the nutritious, delicious, and sustainable attributes of algae ingredients should be launched. Accelerating consumer adoption
is critical both in growing the industry and to help address EU ambitions linked to environment and consumer health.